11 April 2010

Resisting anything but (plant) temptation

Seedy Saturday at the Wolfville Farmer's Market was a great success, as far as I could tell during my visit there. Among the delights on offer were seeds from several small local heritage seed businesses, which I'll have more to say about on another day. Saturday, however, I was all about plants, though it started out innocuously enough. The Friends of the Garden at the KC Irving Environmental Centre at Acadia were doing a tree seedling giveaway, and when a couple of the Friends spied me, they of course insisted I needed a tree seedling or two or three.

I ended up with five. The seedlings were free, with a donation to the Farmers Market building fund, a project I happily support. Meanwhile, three white pine seedlings and two balsam fir seedlings took up happy residence in the trunk of my car.

That was the beginning of the kickoff for the 2010 Urgent Plant Seeking Madness.

It happened that there were a couple of women at the Market, selling perennials. I know and like these women a lot, having gotten some choice plants from them over the years, including my unique and lovely lindelofia, a member of the borage family that looks like giant forget-me-nots or anchusa. They tell me they're growing it again this year. I'll have to visit their nursery and get a couple more plants, as I'm quite sure I know of one or two others who would love another blue-flowered plant.

Saturday, however, was about other blue-flowered beauties, and more. Like pulmonaria. I have a huge love for these plants, also members of the borage family, for their silver spangled foliage even more than for their flowers. The photo at the top is of one that has all-green foliage, however, P. angustifolia 'Azurea'. What it lacks in silver accents in the leaves, it more than makes up for in the brilliant, dazzling blue flowers.

Less exuberantly blue but with exquisite silver-green accents is P. 'Gaelic Magic', one of the Proven Winners series of perennials. It also followed me out to the car.

The primulas are starting to come up in my garden, so of course I couldn't resist the urge to add another to those already hanging out there. This is one of the drumstick primulas (P. denticulata).

And the last of the perennial purchases for the day was a Labrador violet (Viola labradorica). I had this a few years ago but it was either in the wrong spot or got overwhelmed by larger, more vigourous plants. Its foliage is stunning, deep green with highlights of darker purple, almost black, against which the dainty flowers show up beautifully.

Well, after that little episode I had the bit well and truly in my teeth, and went down to Falmouth to visit my buddy, nurseryman Rob Baldwin. Rob's one of those plant people who is phenomenal at propagating and growing impressive, healthy nursery stock, another acolyte of our late lamented friend Captain Steele. He specializes in shrubs and trees, but also has a nice selection of perennials, many of them specifically to encourage pollinators. We went plant hunting with Captain Steele to Newfoundland and Labrador in the summer of 2007, and brought home many cuttings and seeds, which Rob has been growing on since then. If you live in this province, I can't say it more clearly than this: go to Baldwin Nurseries for plants. Seriously.

Um...I came home with the car full. Literally. I shared the front seat with a seedling magnolia and a northern bayberry, because there was no room in the trunk or the back seat. Next time, I'm bringing the truck!

So what treasures came along with me this time? Aside from the magnolia and the northern bayberry (Myrica pennsylvanica), a mixture of natives and introduced friends climbed into the car:

A lepidote rhododendron, the name of which has temporarily left me.
Two Daphne mezereum, or what we call Acadian daphne (photo above), as it was brought to this province by the Acadians some 400 years ago.
A young barberry (Berberis thunbergii) from tiny seedlings I brought to Rob several years ago
A sea buckthorn (Rhamnus hippophae)
Two Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'
One Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum), from seed we collected on the Labrador Quebec border during that trip. Well, he climbed this rocky hilltop beside the ferry terminal while I held the car in the queue and worried. The plants were scoured by wind and heavy snowload and they seem to have evolved with somewhat reflexed leaves as a result.
Two creeping silver willows (Salix repens argentea)

Did I mention I'm making more beds?
I have to get these all planted before I can go plant seeking again. That's the rule. Guess it's going to be a busy few days. As soon as the wind stops blowing gale force, that is.


  1. Oh, that sounds like so much fun! A magnolia seedling - how sweet is that. Now, start digging my dear and maybe by next weekend you can be out shopping again ;-)

  2. Jodi I find it so hard to resist buying new plants but I really have to restrain myself theses days as I have run out of space. If I had the acreage that you have I don't blame you for filling the car. Just think how much money you saved by buying young plants that will establish so much better than more mature ones.

    Your plant hunt in 2007 sounds ever so interesting - something I really would get excited about if I was invited to something like that.And just think as you walk people around your garden in the future you can tell them the stories about that trip.

    Pulmonarias are a real favourite of mine too which you will see on my GBBD post on the 14th of this month. Your proven winner Gaelic magic is new to me.

    Jodi I hope its nice and sunny and warm for you today to get planting and making those new beds. Make sure you have one of those daphnes within eye view of the house as I am just looking out at mine while I type this. We were so warm here yesterday it was warmer here than Greece or Turkey.

    I'll catch up with you over the next few days - a bit of travelling to be done. :) Rosie

  3. Dear Jodi, How well you capture the dangerous spirit of plant buying in this posting. All these goodly things to be acquired, whether or not one really needs them. But, of course, one does! The tree seedlings sound so exciting and I should love to be planting them and watching as they slowly mature. You must note the date of planting as it is so interesting to look back in the years to come.

    Pulmonaria are amongst my favourite low growing plants. I love them for their foliage as much as for the flower. And then there are Primula - can one ever have too many? The Viola labradorica is the sweetest of plants and will, when happily suited, spread very agreeably.

  4. Isn't this such an exciting time of year.?. Your purchases almost ignites the fire of desire for a good plant shop for me. Good thing it is way too early in the morning for shopping while I am reading this.

  5. It sounds like a marvelous trip. I'm envious of the flowers you can plant up there that can wither in the Florida sun. I once went plant shopping with a friend who had to leave me behind because we'd piled her car so full with plants and mulch, there was no room for me. (She came back for me)

    I wish I had your plant rule. My yard is littered with unplanted darlings.

  6. Well, it certainly looks like you had a wonderful day at Seedy Saturday. Maybe more fun then you thought. Have fun planting.

  7. Jodi girl ! I would have been shocked if you DIDN'T have the urge to pick up more plants and dig out more beds ? LOL
    All of them look and sound wonderful .. it is odd you have a hard time with Labrador Violets .. I picked up just one or two plants a few years ago and they have seeded in so many places it is amazing ! I love them so it isn't a hardship at all .. then on the other hand I completely flop at being a mom to heathers .. year after year they go to heather heaven on me .. BIG sigh .. maybe the violets are compensation ?? LOL

  8. Hi Jodi - Okay, I'm officially jealous. Sounds like you had a terrific time at this event. I'm jealous because I will be away when my favorite plant sale happens this year and so I'll miss picking up a few/too many new plants. I'm also jealous because of the lovely drumstick primrose. I used to have one that I got at the UBC plant sale but had to leave it behind when I moved. But I certainly enjoyed seeing what you brought home.
    Glad you have a truck for the next trip.

  9. Morning Jodi, sounds like you made quite a haul. Until we move into our new house I am in a holding pattern on buying new plants. It is like going through withdrawal.
    Funny some of the same ones you mention here are some of the ones I will have in my new garden in South Carolina...though the Bayberry is the Myrica cerifera. Many Magnolias will find their way to my new place. Are yours the evergreen or deciduous?
    In our Learning Garden we have some Pulmonaria variety 'Raspberry Splash' which offers a variety of color in its bloom....perfect for those of us who can't choose!!

    Next time --take the truck!!!

  10. I would have enjoyed seeing a photo of the car full of plants! hehe

    Ooh Labrador Tea! Maybe I can beg some seeds from you. Been looking for it growing wild for two years now, without luck.

  11. Now who doesn't go plant 'looking' without a truck LOL! I do not have one so that cuts down on the amount of plants. Just takes more trips LOL!
    You had some very lovely ones jump into the car and follow you home. That is what I would call a very good day.

  12. That's exactly why I avoid taking the truck! If I take it, there's nothing to stop me from filling it! I need to adopt your rule though...planting those you have, before seeking more. I haven't quite mastered that rule yet...

  13. Hey Jodi...I missed the seedy Sat. at the Farm Market this year, family commentments to attend to....wish not...then I would have probable crossed paths with you!

    Sounds like you had a lot of hip hugging friends that just couldn't be without you in "your" garden! Once you put them in their rightful places though I am sure they will behave!!! Have fun...see you soon!

  14. Jealous! :) Your finds all sound wonderful and I'm sure will be great additions to your gardens. And yes, this wind is awful! :-?

  15. I like the way those plants just followed you to the car:)

  16. I agree, plants are completely and utterly irresistable. Nice to see an array of TRUE blues ;).

  17. :) This whole post just made me smile. Now that I have left the planting blues in the dust, I have a 'holding area' now which is full of plants I haven't actually had time to plant. I am also thinking about gardening up the wild area around my parking spaces with red bee balm! Listening to you it sounds like this compulsion never fades....

  18. I applaud your rule of having to plant the ones you have before going out for more. I have the same rule but unfortunately I always seem to break it. And then I find myself, quite lost, wandering around the garden, plant in hand wondering where to put it, not having thought that out before I got it.

  19. Good luck getting them planted. Plant madness can have its downside when you try to find space to put plants. Not that such considerations count when temptation beckons!

  20. Hi, Jodi!
    You should start a club called 'Urgent Plant Seeking Madness!' Kind of like wordless Wednesdays, etc. Man! I'd be a big contributor! :) This was a fun post.

  21. I said this year I was going to spend money on house repairs and less in the garden, so far I'm not doing very well... :-)-- Randy

  22. Now this sounds to me like a VERY successful trip. Enjoy the planting!

  23. I've had days like that. "They followed me home, I swear!" but nobody buys it, I knew what I was doing :) It sound like you brought home some wonderful plants. Have fun digging!

  24. Beautiful photos and blooms! Every time I see the pic of Simon with his mouth open, I literally laugh out loud!

    I was at a nursery this past weekend and had to literally resist the urge to buy plants - one made it on my cart, but it got put back at the last minute. My wife, on the other hand, picked up a few for me, so at least I controlled my self! LOL! I've only recently become addicted to plants - I was musing the other day that a year ago it would have been electronic gadgets. Not any more. Plants are far more satisfying and rewarding!

  25. Hi Jodi! Wow what a stash you have there! I love that little viola... too delicate for my gardens ... oh but it is a treasure! I like how you say your rule is to get beds ready before buying!! I must confess to having plants sitting around for weeks and yikes months waiting for me to get the beds ready. I now follow that rule too! I want to thank you so for your kind and caring comments Jodi! Now I want to look through all your posts! Carol

  26. Such restraint Jodi. :) My Labrador violets have moved around and seem absent this year. I do have a friend who has a few though. I think traveling and disappearing is in their nature.

  27. oooh, fun, Jodi. Nice selections. I look fowrad to seeing your new garden beds.

  28. I know the feeling; that's how I ended up with more seeds than any man could kill in a single season. Still, there's always next year!

  29. Sounds like the perfect day, jodi. Farch is far behind ... a car filled with garden treasures is as good as it gets!

  30. Dear Jodi, thank you for your thoughts and comforting words - I really need it... no words

  31. Ha ha! I too have fallen victim to the the 2010 Urgent Plant Seeking Madness - I now have a bunch of interesting edibles and just no where to plant them - red eggplants, golden raspberries, yellow strawberries, and so on. I hope you have lots of space for your new additions!

  32. And who said that plant's don't talk back?

    Beautiful colors and textures and what a great find!


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